How the first T Levels are shaping up

By Gillian Keegan on

After many years of hard work by providers, employers, sector and industry experts, I’m delighted to be able to say that the first T Levels in  Digital Production, Design and DevelopmentDesign, Surveying and Planning for Construction,  and Education and Childcare have now launched across the country. 

Our very first students have begun their programmes; they will combine classroom study with an industry placement of at least 9 weeks in their chosen career area.  Equivalent to 3 A levels and in line with UCAS points, T Levels will allow students to progress into skilled professions, higher level and degree apprenticeships or full-time degree courses depending on their ambitions.

T Levels will make a real difference to the opportunities available to young people, allowing them to flourish in the workplace.  Gaining a T Level will give students the best chance of moving into skilled work once they graduate, giving employers the skilled workforce they need and contributing to economic recovery.

Employers and educators really see the value of T Levels in preparing students not only for the world of work but also for higher level applied learning. 

Over 250 leading employers have been involved in putting together the content for the T Level courses. They include large household names like GlaxoSmithKline, Fujitsu, KPMG and Amazon through to SMEs and even micro businesses. Together with education specialists, they have developed 24 courses which cover a wide range of subjects and sectors, from digital, media and engineering to agriculture, accounting and healthcare. So the career options available to students will be in many different professions.

Across England, these businesses have contributed a huge amount of effort in creating the right balance of learning and practical skills to make sure T Level courses will stand the test of time and really deliver for everyone. Students are not just learning on the job but bringing fresh ideas to the workplace and employers get to identify early talent.

Having worked in a number of sectors throughout my own career, I know how important it is that students are ‘work-ready’ – and with the nine week placement giving them the chance to really experience an industry, I’m confident that T Levels will give young people the differentiating experience they need.   I believe this is something that really sets T Levels apart and is an exciting prospect for the future. 

Launching a new technical qualification was never going to be an easy task; a challenge that has of course been amplified by Covid. However, it’s a testament to the dedication of our 2020 providers, including colleges, schools and independent training providers that T Levels have launched as planned this month.

It’s been inspiring to see some of the first teaching take place – both in person and virtually – in the past few weeks; listening to employers and lecturers talk about the curriculum they have developed and hearing from excited young people. All this makes me really confident that we are paving the way to world-class technical education in this country. 

Gillian Keegan is the Apprenticeships and skills minister and the MP for Chichester